Synopsis of 3×03 and 3×04: “The Box” causes a lot of tension among the Pied Piper employees and the team schemes behind Jack’s back about the path the company will take.
Rating:★★★★★ and ★★★★★
These past two episodes are some of the funniest television I have seen in years. The writing for this show is so witty and so real and so quotable and just so superior in every way to others and these episodes are some of the best.
We begin with a tour of where the boxes will rest- a terribly depressing data center. As they are on a tour, they are led past a series of offices filled, “with f***ing mole people” as Gilfoyle said, who were revealed to be on site engineers whose sole job was to stay down there and provide 24 hours support, something they’re told they’ll have to do too. The gang is disgusted and are desperate to leave the maze of nightmares… buttttt they have some trouble finding the exit.
As they realize that they are going to be forced to work on this monstrosity, Gilfoyle makes the ultimate decision- he’s quitting. He changes his LinkedIn status to “Looking For Work”, begins to pack and throw away the things that Dinesh wants, Richard stutters about how he can’t just quit and Gilfoyle says he just can’t work on the box. His phone rings and he deadpans, “Huh, recruiters move fast these days,” before answering with a deep, “This is Gilfoyle. Dazzle me.”
Back at home he continues to turn down request after request for interviews and continues to receive the wildest of gifts- an Occulus, a Hoverboard, and 7 tubs of popcorn from Popcornopolis. Gilfoyle eventually ends up at an interview at Endframe, where he realizes that the former Nucleus employees are the ones looking to hire, and more importantly- they figured out the algorithm.
Richard meanwhile goes over Jack’s head and goes to Laurie- who agrees that the box is a bad idea. Jack though has a different idea- he isn’t going to give up on the box and they are going to make it. When he returns to the Incubator with that news and Gilfoyle returns with the news of Endframe. Richard decides that they have to go and build a skunkworks- an illegal insider company where they would just work on the platform while pretending to work on the box. The plan is fueled by pizza delivered to them as the condition Gilfoyle sets for a recruiter if they want to have a meeting with them and the promise that they can continue to make fun of Dinesh and his chain which is insane in the membrane.
They walk into work confident the next day. They have a plan and they know exactly what they have to do. The problem? Richard trips and drops the papers he brought into the office. The papers which have every single detail of their plan. That a sales rep ends up picking up, reading, and immediately bringing to Jack who demands to see them in his office.
The next episode begins with them in his office, Jack furious that they would go and commit fraud behind his back. He demands to know why he shouldn’t fire them and make sure that they are never hired in this industry and this area ever again and Richard realizes that without them he wouldn’t have a product to begin with. Jack concedes to Richard’s proposal inspired by the Conjoined Triangles of Success- they’ll compromise. They will design the box- but only with the most minimal features needed and that they’d hire someone else to man the 24 hour station.
They begin work on the box, Gilfoyle declaring that writing the code for this made him want to kill himself, and Dinesh agreed, “Writing this code makes me want you to kill yourself too.” After Richard gets pulled into the most ridiculous design meeting (“Tell me which image you like,” the designer asks as he plays bongo music and flashes random scenic images at him) he declares that he doesn’t care what it looks like and that he had to focus on the platform. Things start to change though when they all realize that they could actually make this box a powerful and fast machine. They start to have pride in the product, asking the designer to make it look like a panther, because when they finished it it was going to purr, a gazelle cause it’s fast, and a cheetah, because they eat gazelles and panthers.
Jack declares the project dead after their buyer pulls out at the last minute, but when Richard tells him how fast they were able to get it he immediately changes his tune. They are able to get the company to agree, and they call a board meeting to vote on whether they will accept the contract. At the meeting though, Monica realizes that the contract is written to say that the buyer would have exclusive rights to the box for five years and the right to use the algorithm for whatever purpose they wanted. Richard is reasonably upset, and Jack explains that Laurie has to agree with him that it is financially beneficial to the company.
Erlich votes against it because he wasn’t “carbon copied” on the email with the contract before the meeting, while Jack votes for and Laurie reluctantly votes for. Monica though, she decides to take a stand. Telling Richard that this was what she meant by staying on the board to be able to eventually help one day, she votes against it- meaning they cannot sign the contract that day. Jack becomes furious and screams that the box will happen no matter what he has to do.
They return to the incubator (the original one, not the one Big Head unknowingly started and unknowingly got into business with Erlich over) when Richard receives a call from Gavin Belson. Gavin tells him to go to hooli.com and see what he did. After sitting through an ad they couldn’t click out of, they are horrified to see that Gavin has purchased Endframe for 250 million dollars- effectively putting Nucleus back in production. Richard is horrified as Gavin laughs at him and hangs up.
Erlich though… Erlich begins to laugh so hard that he cannot stop laughing (choking on the smoke from his bong might have helped that too) as he says that he just saved them by doing this. The rest are incredibly confused as Erlich keeps coughing out that because of this, Gavin just put a monetary value on the company and platform- meaning that Jack cannot push for the box anymore. As the rest celebrate and Erlich keeps coughing (honestly the FUNNIEST scene of the two episodes) they wonder what this means for the next day.
Ready to gloat to Jack about how they were right, they find his office being emptied and Laurie sitting behind the desk. You see, she didn’t like being threatened. Pied Piper now without a CEO, who knows what next challenge the team will face.